By Carl Begai
The cover art on its own should be enough to let people know Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown is an Edguy album. If that doesn’t convince you, a tracklist containing songs entitled ‘Love Tyger’ and ‘Do Me Like A Caveman’ warns folks that vocalist Tobias Sammet is at play once again. We are, after all, talking about the man that wrote the classic ‘Lavatory Love Machine’ and got away with it. All in the name of good clean fun in a dirty world, of course, and Sammet and his bandmates take their fun very seriously.
“That’s what you hear when you’re in a hotel on tour,” Sammet says of ‘Do Me Like A Caveman’, making sure people understand it doesn’t refer to the band members’ personal escapades. “You’re lying there alone in your bed after a show trying to get some sleep because you have an early lobby call, and all of a sudden you hear those weird primal noises from the room next to yours. It sounds something like ‘Do me like a caveman!’ (laughs). I think if I’d used the actual quote for the song we wouldn’t have been able to sell the album to minors.”
As for the Space Police artwork, it’s reminiscent of the animated cheesiness of Edguy’s Rocket Ride album cover from 2006 but isn’t linked or inspired by it according to Sammet.
“What I didn’t like too much about Rocket Ride, although it is good to break down barriers, the cover art was goofy. I don’t think the Space Police cover art is necessarily goofy; it’s got a rock n’ roll attitude and it’s not your typical Dungeons & Dragons power metal artwork. It may have a subtle hint of tongue-in-cheekness, but it’s also very straightforward just like the album is. It’s very flashy and in your face.”
It’s this attitude that pervades on Space Police, a record cocked and loaded with feelgood speed and power metal anthems the moment you press “play,” slowing down only once along the way to catch its breath.
“Everybody seems to be very positive about it, which is funny because although we did work hard on the album it wasn’t long term,” Sammet reveals. “We didn’t have time to think twice about things. It was a very subconscious album, so to speak, very instinctive. We didn’t want to waste time, we wanted to show people what we have to offer. The first song on the album (‘Sabre & Torch’) was the first song written. When I got back from the Avantasia tour last August I knew the Edguy fellows would be waiting for me to come back and eager to make a new album. I didn’t want to be asked ‘When do you think we can start working on a new album?’ I’m the one that asked the question as soon as I got back (laughs). I didn’t have any material but in September we booked the studio for early November, which gave us two months to write all the material. We decided that if it worked out that way, great, and if it didn’t we would just postpone everything and take the time we needed because we didn’t want to come out with a rushed crap album.”
Sammet is also the mastermind behind the ongoing Avantasia metal opera, a proposed one-time project (launched in 2001) that has taken on a life of its own. In terms of vibe and attitude Edguy and Avantasia are very different even though Sammet is responsible for the vast majority of music and song ideas for both.
“Edguy is the bulldozer,” he says, making the comparison. “With Avantasia I’m a ballet dancer and with Edguy I’m a mammoth (laughs). It’s good to be both, but the bottom line is that whatever we do, let’s go out and be entertaining no matter which band it is.”
Sammet is most certainly an entertainer whether he’s on stage or on the phone, and his songwriting does indeed reflect that, but it’s not all Skittles and beer. Delve into his lyrics on ‘The Realms Of Baba Yaga’ and ‘Space Police’ and you’ll find a serious, possibly even grim, artist.
“I like to speak in metaphors and I like fairytales, but it all depends on how you use the language. English isn’t my mother tongue which makes things a little more difficult, but I like to play with the language. I was using the Baba Yaga story in the song but it’s not about her necessarily. She’s the main character in a lot of fairytales and movies they show around Christmas in Russia and eastern Europe, and long story short, I wanted to use her as a metaphor for something I really needed to say. I wanted to write a song with a serious topic but wrap it up in a beautiful metaphor. ‘The Realms Of Baba Yaga’ is about the realms you are attracted to knowing that they aren’t good for you; it’s about temptation being stronger than reason. It can be substance abuse, which isn’t really my thing, or nuclear power or dark philosophies or a certain way of thinking.”
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